There is rain pattering outside my window as I write. Rain, here, is precious. The earth is hard and dry, and needs the rain. At first, the parched ground resists the refreshment that the sky has offered, and the rain puddles and pools. Slowly, the water seeps into the ground, softening the earth, reviving life.
We are like the earth; parched, needing refreshment, needing to be watered with hope from without so that our life can be renewed with fresh vigor and strength. Sometimes, when the circumstances of life have so overwhelmed and drained us, we can be like the desert ground, resisting hope, not trusting that we are desperately in need of revitalization. I have found that parenting children with differences, supporting them through therapies and surgeries and new diagnoses, I can become so quickly depleted, yet so resistant to any offer of help and hope offered. I know so many other parents who struggle with this as well. Why is that? Why do we choose, so often, to trudge along so weary?
I know that sometimes it is not so much a choice, as it is a lack of resources, a lack of support and a lack of hope offering. I, myself, have been in those dry places, where the daily grind of caring for children with different needs is lonely and there is little to no revitalizing help. In those times, hope is simply the act of enduring; enduring one more moment, one more therapy, one more meltdown, one more challenge.
Yet, then, when the outside offering of hope through help and resources does arrive, I have found myself declining. It only makes sense, I tell myself, since I've been surviving thus far without, and I don't wish my difficulties to burden others. When a friend offers to bring by a meal, or to watch my children for a little while, or whatever else they may offer, it is more comfortable for me to respond, "thank you, but I've got it handled". Learning to accept help has been a purposeful, and sometimes painful, lesson that I am still walking through.
The beauty of learning to allow outside hope offerings to renew us is that, in doing so, in accepting help given, we are not only gifting ourselves a renewing of our own strength to endure, but it affects everyone around us in positive ways. Accepting offerings from others is not a placement of burden onto others; it is a lightening of our own burden, a gift of vulnerability, and an acknowledgment of the heart offering being gifted to us. We teach our children how to graciously acknowledge our need for support, and we invite others to experience the ways in which our family is uniquely living this life.
I have challenged myself to say "yes" to hope offerings, those gifts of refreshment from outside of myself, more often than not. I have challenged myself to see the heart of love when help is extended to me. And in these things, I have seen the value of being vulnerable enough to stand with support. I challenge you to be brave enough to do the same.